Huge floating ocean laboratory set to be built in 2014
A fantastic new marine research facility, designed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, is set to make it easier to study ecosystems and fish levels below the sea.
The SeaOrbiter, is a floating aquatic lab that will be stationed in the middle of the ocean and over two-thirds of the 170ft tall ship will be below the waterline.
Construction is set to start in 2014 on the vessel, which will be able to house between 18 and 22 marine biologists at any one time.
It has full living quarters and kitchens as well as an underwater laboratory, which will help make the SeaOrbiter buoyant.
The underwater lab will also offer a direct line of sight into the ocean to depths of up to 6,000 metres.
The vessel looks, as we are sure you will agree, pretty darn impressive, and will weigh 1,000 tonnes.
According to Rougerie, the SeaOrbiter will also feature a “fish collection system for studies of the pelagic ecosystem, plankton diversity and fish stocks.”
Rougerie built his first underwater house on the 4th August 1977 and went on to develop the idea for the ocean lab around 12 years ago.
In 1981 he launched the Hippocampe, a scientific base suspended in mid-water that slept two people.
The Hippocampe was capable of diving to depths of around 12 metres and could stay underwater for between seven and 15 days at a time.
This latest project will cost $52.7 million and has received support from the European Space Agency and Nasa, due to the fact that the conditions on the SeaOrbiter are similar to those found in space.
On the SeaOrbiter official website there are a number of points as to just what the vessel can offer. These were:
- Permanency and the capability of continuous observation and research in mid ocean
- Capacity for long-lasting missions
- Date measured and collected mostly in real time
- Ability to deploy a range of exploratory devices directly under the sea
- Capacity to operate in silent mode
The SeaOrbiter is also environmentally friendly and sustainable as it is powered using solar, wind and wave energy.
While the vessel has been designed to drift around with the ocean currents, the European Defense and Space systems (EADS) is also developing a biofuel that could be used as a secondary power source.
Previously Rougerie told Inhabitat that the SeaOrbiter “would become an essential tool in exploring the world’s oceans and an useful base to study the link between global warming and the oceans, which absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions”.
If you want to see more about the SeaOrbiter, check out the video below...